After a three-year hiatus from the music scene, Childish Gambino–the 5-time Grammy-winning musical alter ego of Golden Globe Emmy-winning actor, producer, and director Donald Glover– is officially back with The Swarm EP alongside singer-songwriter KIRBY, which was released Friday.
The EP is inspired by and arrives on the same day as Glover’s new Amazon Prime series Swarm, a story of a young woman, Dre (played by Dominique Fishback), who is obsessed with a fictional pop star that’s eerily similar to Beyoncé. The fictional pop star, Ni’jah, is voiced by KIRBY both in the show and EP.
Though Gambino is only credited on one track, “Sticky,” on the six-song project, he has writing and production credits on that song and the opener of the EP, “Something Like That.” Gambino is an executive producer along with Michael Uzowuru, with the collaboration of Fam Udeorji as co-producer.
“KIRBY has such a versatile sound and songwriting ability; she was able to elevate and amplify every moment she was a part of,” Gambino said. “It’s been a pleasure to collaborate together, to bring this story to life sonically, and I couldn’t imagine what this would sound like without her involvement.”
In the interview with Rated R&B, KIRBY talked about the writing process for the character of Ni’jah: “I fell in love with the idea of becoming the Ni’jah character…It was liberating to go in and write and sing without any rules.”
She echoed Gambino’s admiration saying, “There are people who are called ‘genius’ and people who truly are. After working with Donald, Michael, Fam & Riley, I truly know the difference.”
This project comes three years after Gambino’s 3.15.20, which was named after its release date. The 12-track LP featured collaborations with Ariana Grande, 21 Savage, Ink, and Kadhja. The LP peaked at No 8 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 13 on the Billboard 200.
The Swarm series was created by Glover and Janine Nabers, who previously worked together on the popular and deeply missed series Atlanta on FX. The show stars Dominique Fishback, Damson Idris, and Chloe Bailey. Billie Eilish will also make an appearance in the series. Childish Gambino and KIRBY’s The Swarm EP is available on all music streaming platforms, and the series is available today on Prime Video.